Ernest Currie

Laudabunt Alii - Poem by Ernest Currie

There are some that long for a limpid lake by a blue Italian shore,
Or a palm-grove out where the rollers break and the coral beaches roar;
There are some for the land of the Japanee, and the tea-girls' twinkling feet;
And some for the isles of the summer sea, afloat in the dancing heat;
And others are exiles all their days, midst black or white or brown,
Who yearn for the clashing of crowded ways, and the lights of London town.

But always I would wish to be where the seasons gently fall
On the Further Isle of the Outer Sea, the last little isle of all,
A fair green land of hill and plain, of rivers and water-springs,
Where the sun still follows after the rain, and ever the hours have wings,
With its bosomed valleys where men may find retreat from
   the rough world's way . . .
Where the sea-wind kisses the mountain-wind between the dark and the day.

The combers swing from the China Sea to the California Coast,
The North Atlantic takes toll and fee of the best of the Old World's boast,
And the waves run high with the tearing crash that the Cape-bound
   steamers fear --
But they're not so free as the waves that lash the rocks by Sumner pier,
And wheresoever my body be, my heart remembers still
The purple shadows upon the sea, low down from Sumner hill.

The warm winds blow through Kuringai; the cool winds from the South
Drive little clouds across the sky by Sydney harbour-mouth;
But Sydney Heads feel no such breeze as comes from nor'-west rain
And takes the pines and the blue-gum trees by hill and gorge and plain,
And whistles down from Porter's Pass, over the fields of wheat,
And brings a breath of tussock grass into a Christchurch street.

Or the East wind dropping its sea-born rain, or the South wind wild and loud
Comes up and over the waiting plain, with a banner of driving cloud;
And if dark clouds bend to the teeming earth, and the hills are dimmed
   with rain,
There is only to wait for a new day's birth and the hills stand out again.
For no less sure than the rising sun, and no less glad to see
Is the lifting sky when the rain is done and the wet grass rustles free.

Some day we may drop the Farewell Light, and lose the winds of home --
But where shall we win to a land so bright, however far we roam?
We shall long for the fields of Maoriland, to pass as we used to pass
Knee-deep in the seeding tussock, and the long lush English-grass.
And we may travel a weary way ere we come to a sight as grand
As the lingering flush of the sun's last ray on the peaks of Maoriland.

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Read poems about / on: rain, sea, wind, london, travel, farewell, purple, sun, dark, birth, sky, summer, green, water, world, fear, home, light, girl, beach

Poem Submitted: Saturday, January 4, 2003

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